Southampton girls winter track coach Eddie Arnold had to make a tough decision last week, but it’s one he doesn’t regret.
Arnold elected not to bring his team to the League Championships at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood on Sunday, a choice he made based on the fact that the student-athletes on his team were facing mid-term exams and other testing on Monday, and both they and their parents had expressed concern about competing in the meet the day before the tests. It wasn’t just the fact that the tests were the day after the meet that made Arnold choose to keep his team home. Teams that compete at indoor track meets at Suffolk West are given a certain time slot for their competitions. This year, Southampton is in the group of schools that compete in the evening sessions, which don’t start until 7 p.m. and typically end around 9:30 p.m. His team wouldn’t have arrived home until around 11 p.m. on Sunday night, Arnold said, which was the final factor in his decision.
“Some of the parents and the kids expressed concern, so I called [Southampton Athletic Director Darren Phillips] and we decided to cancel,” Arnold said. “It was the first time in 12 years I’ve made a decision like this. Normally, I would be there to represent the school, but I think I made the right call. If it was my son, I wouldn’t want him going out on Sunday, getting home at 11 and then being tired for the next morning’s exams.”
Not attending the league meet shouldn’t have any detrimental effect on Southampton’s chances in the upcoming Small Schools County Championships, scheduled for Friday at Suffolk West. Arnold expects a handful of his top athletes to compete in that meet, and explained that the league meet doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not athletes can participate in the county meet.
Arnold expects his 4×200-meter relay team to show up strong at the meet, and added that several individuals, including Hannah Connolly-Sporing, Erika Gulija, Michele Abatangelo, Lumei Abatangelo, Gabby Gavalas, Chloe Schmidt and Valentina Kobler will be looking to shine in their respective individual events at the Small Schools meet as well.
The Southampton boys winter track team did travel to the League Championships on Saturday at Suffolk West, but results were not provided by press time. Results will be in next week’s edition, along with results from the Small Schools Championships.